Missing Ohiopyle rafter ID'ed as Pitt student
A 22-year-old University of Pittsburgh student was spending the day with his longtime girlfriend and her family at Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County when his raft capsized on the Youghiogheny River and he disappeared, according to his aunt.
The search for Robert Vega of Lancaster will resume Monday, but it is now a recovery effort, said Jim Juran, park ranger.
“We have transitioned from a search and rescue to recovery,” Juran said Sunday evening. “We are scaling back.”
Vega was on a commercial whitewater rafting trip when his raft flipped over Saturday afternoon below the falls, Juran said. His PFD, or personal flotation device, slipped off and he was last seen with his foot trapped on the river's bottom at Swimmers Rapids, Juran said.
Two swiftwater rescue teams, park staff and guides from several whitewater rafting companies in Ohiopyle searched the river and banks on Saturday and Sunday. Juran said the effort turned into one of recovery at 4 p.m. Sunday.
The recovery effort will resume at 8 a.m. on Monday, but only park staff and the whitewater guides will participate, Juran said. They will concentrate on a two-mile stretch of the river between Swimmers Rapids and Bruner Run.
Vega's family kept vigil at the park on Sunday, according to his aunt, Jessica Rojas.
Vega has attended the University of Pittsburgh for the past 3½ years, where Rojas said he was a straight A student who was studying law. He is listed on the university's website as having made the dean's list at least twice, in 2011 and this spring.
Rojas said Vega went to the park with his girlfriend, whom she said he met in 10th grade, and her family to go whitewater rafting.
“They were just down there for the day, with his girlfriend and her family,” said Rojas. “Her parents came over to visit them from Lancaster.”
Rojas said park personnel have kept them up to date with the search efforts. She said the family was advised that a helicopter will be used during Monday's search.
Juran said the park extends its condolences to Vega's family.
“We've had hundreds of thousands of people go downriver every year without incident,” Juran said. “This is an unforeseen accident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Vega family.”
Liz Zemba is a reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Scottdale funeral director to head state group
- New office manager touts Greater Connellsville Chamber
- Masontown bakery owner hopes for recipe for success
- ‘Faces and Voices of Connellsville’ taps local memories
- Interchange named for longtime Democratic Party leader who advocated for Mon-Fayette Expressway
- Connellsville City Council pays into pension plans for police, firefighters
- ‘Trunk or Treat’ events designed to keep everyone safe
- Fayette County woman pleads guilty to trying to kill romantic rival with SUV
- New Haven to host Halloween parade on Tuesday
- Perryopolis going greener
- Youth hockey team plans ‘Score a Goal for Hunger’